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IMF revises Malawi’s 2019 growth to 5%

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By Chimwemwe Mangazi:

MITRA—Economic outlook is favourable

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revised upwards Malawi’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for 2019.

The Bretton Woods’ institution has predicted that Malawi’s economy would swell by 5 percent this year owing to an expected bumper yield and improvement in electricity supply.

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IMF Mission Chief for Malawi, Pritha Mitra, said this Thursday on the sidelines of a press briefing she jointly held with Minister of Finance, Goodall Gondwe, in Lilongwe, at the end of the second review of the three-year Extended Credit Facility support programme.

Earlier, IMF predicted that the Malawi economy would grow by 4.1 percent.

Mitra said the economic outlook was favourable, with a likelihood of continued growth in the short to medium terms.

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“In the medium-term, growth could rise further to 6-7 percent, driven by infrastructure projects including electricity generation, crop diversification, greater access to finance and an improved business climate,” Mitra said.

She said inflation was expected to ease to around 8 percent at the end of 2019 and gradually converge to 5 percent over the medium term.

In a separate interview, Gondwe remained ambitious, pegging the growth prospect at 9 percent.

The estimate is higher than the 7 percent rise prospect the government made.

The country has been subjected to devastating power outages for years now, a situation that has negatively affected the private sector and economic growth prospects.

A 2018 last quarter Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Economic Review showed that economic growth prospects may still be subdued by weakened performance of the industry.

Real GDP growth was estimated at 3.7 percent in 2018, down from 5.1 percent in 2016/17, largely affected by a prolonged dry spell in the first half of 2018 and the fall armyworm infestation, which reduced maize output.

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